I had to have surgery to repair my torn bicep (distal) in August 2012. http://www.rushortho.com/pdf/Distal%20Biceps%20Repair.pdf
That's pretty major surgery for the arm. I was in the gym a week after surgery doing machine work for my legs and right side of the upper body. By week three I had my safety squat bar and was squatting with one arm. I was not released to lift with my left arm until November.
In April of 2013 I was able to compete in a powerlifting meet and did fairly well. The point is that I agree with stuward because of my own experience. I'm fairly certain I was able get back in less than an year because I never stopped working my right side for the 3 months I couldn't use my left arm.
Get back doing one side as soon as you can. The theory is that the hormonal response you get helps the healing process and helps prevent atrophy.